I’m a little late this week. We drove down to San Antonio to celebrate Father’s Day with Andy’s family, the kids napped on the way home, we were up till midnight, and I didn’t have time to write.
My nostalgia kicks in every time we’re in the car for over an hour and I needs must stop somewhere for an unhealthy snack. At a regular gas station my snack of choice is mini chocolate donuts. But we didn’t stop at a regular gas station, we stopped at the Wal-Mart of gas stations: Buc-ee’s. The walls are lined with floor to ceiling gummy candies. They have 30 kinds of fudge. There’s a whole counter that only sells jerky. For myself, high on this road-trip unhealthy snack kick, I picked out a monstrous chopped beef sandwich with pickles and onion and a sack of beaver nuggets (a horse’s feed bag sized sack of crunchy sweet things made from corn syrup, margarine, and puffed air). I’m not proud to admit these things, but I have an obligation to fill you in on my various and sundry food choices, dear reader, so I’m gonna. Suffice it to say neither were good, and I felt horrible all night, and I’m never buying a barbecue sandwich or beaver nuggets from a gas station again. Now that I’ve sufficiently whetted your appetite, here’s what we ate this week.
Mushroom and Pepper Jack Omelet, Roasted Potatoes, Green Salad. Please don’t judge my hideous omelet too harshly- it was the first one I’ve ever made! I hated eggs as a kid. I hated all non-noodle foods, really. I didn’t really start cooking and eating eggs until after college, but for some reason omelets still sounded gross to me. I have no reason why- it’s just a simpleminded prejudice. Anyway, I had leftover crispy mushrooms and pepper jack, and an omelet just seemed like the thing to do. I don’t own a nonstick pan, so imma go ahead and blame my cast iron pan on the ugly state of the final product, but it tasted damn good. The little greens were leftover from last week’s Boggy Creek Farm visit and are perfect with a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper.
20 lbs of Tomatoes for Canned Crushed Tomatoes. I canned these! And none of them siphoned (where the tomato juices leak out of the cans during or after processing), which used to happen to me every time. I followed the recipe in Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry cookbook, which I have fallen for hard. I canned another 15 lbs of tomatoes this weekend, candied jalapenos, and dill pickle relish. In the next few weeks I want to make her habanero pepper jam, pickled okra (you can stuff it with pimiento cheese! hearts hearts hearts), pickled jalapenos, and peach jam. That book is inspirational, and the recipes are flawless, and the photography is by the Canal House ladies, and you should buy it if you even have a passing interest in canning- it will change your life.
Tomato Water. When you’re canning the tomatoes, you scoop out the seeds and seedy juice stuff. Mrs. Wheelbarrow implores you not to waste it. Instead strain the stuff into a bowl so you capture the tomato water and then use it in a number of different ways- in place of stock in a summery soup, in bread baking, when cooking rice, or as part of a cocktail. I drank mine with a splash of pickle juice and jalapeno slices. Henry liked his sweetened with sugar and with a blueberry garnish. Andy thought the idea of drinking tomato water was horrifying, and sort of thought so after cautiously sipping mine too. I liked it!
Tomato and Corn Pie. This is the best tomato pie I’ve ever had. I make it every year in tomato season. The crust is biscuit dough that you roll out thinly. You fill it with layers of heirloom tomato slices, fresh corn, cheddar cheese, basil and chives. You pour a lemony mayo sauce on top, which might sound weird but is completely amazing, and you top it with another circle of biscuit dough brushed with melted butter. Can you tell that it tastes absolutely incredible? The crust, like biscuits, is great the day of and not as good the next day.
BLTs with Herb Salad and Avocado, Mango Salsa. Another BLT. This one was fancied up with avocado, and with an herb salad (parsley and basil leaves tossed with a little olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper) instead of lettuce, because I didn’t have any. It was a nice twist on the classic. The mango salsa is chopped tomatoes and mangoes tossed with minced onion, jalapenos, lime juice, and salt. S’good too!
Burnt Cherry/Blackberry/Blueberry Crisp. I made three crisps last week 😐 And I only photographed the one I burned! This one was made with fruits that were too tart/too old and needed to be used up. I tossed them with a little sugar and followed the ratio for crispy stuff up on top outlined here, which was perfect. I made another crisp for a potluck with strawberries, mangoes, and lemon zest and juice, and another for Father’s Day with peaches and cinnamon. They were all delicious. No one doesn’t like a fruit crisp and it’s way way faster than pie.
Red Beans and Rice. No amount of VSCO-camming can make this red beans and rice look attractive, but it tasted great. It’s probably 75% barbecue, with the odd red bean sprinkled here and there. We have probably another 2 or 3 dinners worth of this stuff in the freezer, but it’s so damn good I’m happy for the glut of the stuff.
Leftover Crudite Vegetable Pot Pie. I had a gallon ziploc bag full of leftover aging crudite from my sister’s massive crudite platter last week. Most folks would probably spend the week munching on the stuff, but you already know from my charming story at the top that I’m not a healthy snacker. So the bag of vegetables (cremini mushrooms, radishes, carrots, celery, broccoli, and green beans) just sat there. When in doubt, I wrap things in pastry. So I made a double batch of pie dough (used the fraissage technique from last week because it makes a big flaky difference in my pie crusts), and made an approximation of this delicious vegan stock from some of the vegetables (the fennel seed in the stock is delightful, the cremini mushrooms gave it a distinctly meaty edge). I sauteed leftover red onion, the carrots, and the celery till tender. Then I added the rest of the vegetables and kept cooking until they lost their raw edge. I took them out of the pan, melted 1/4 cup of butter and sprinkled over 2 tablespoons of flour and cooked until it was light brown. I slowly whisked in about 2 cups of the vegan stock and cooked it till it was thickened. I added salt and pepper and the cooked vegetables, and then poured that filling into the crust. It was so good! It really surprised me. Cooked radishes take on the texture of potatoes and taste almost as mild. All the vegetables were delicious and well-seasoned in the thickened stock gravy. And the crust was really lovely with it. I wanted to write down what I did so I can make it again.
Pepperoni Pizza. I blogged about this recipe already, way back in my very second blog post on this site. This week we ate it in front of the TV while watching Despicable Me, which we hadn’t seen and is so fun. Tomorrow the kids and I are going to go see Inside Out (the Alamo Drafthouse has a baby day where you can bring your loud obnoxious children under 6 (for free!!!) and see a movie). I’m so excited! Henry is too. He’s going to order a milkshake, gummies, and popcorn. Like mother, like son. See you next week!